Some economy about Italian machine tools

2017.06.22

Based on sources of Gardner Business Media and UCIMU Industrial association

Do you know how industrial is Italy? Let us see it in figures:

According to 2015 global metalworking machine tool consumption was USD 79,1 billion with the big down of 11,8% than it was in 2014. The full global Europe consumed USD 21,1 billion of machine tools. Italian industry is on the 6th place in global world consumers (after China, USA, Germany, Japan and South Korea) and on the 2nd in Europe (after Germany). In figures Italy consumed USD 3,136 billion with the increase of 9,4% than 2014. For 2016 global machine tool consumption stays at USD 79,9 billion which is nearly the same. Italy also takes 6th place for the year.

According to 2015 Italy stays at 6th position in global world of machine tools import with main import value USD 1,470  billion which is 47% of main consumption (First 5 places in world for import – China, USA, Germany, Mexico, Russia).

According to 2015 Italy stays at 4th place in the world for machine tools production (USD 5,797 billion) and 2nd in Europe after Germany. At first three places of top producers are China, Japan, Germany.

Export of machine tools in Italy is 3d place of global world (after Germany and Japan) with export value of USD 3,641 billion. Main consumers of “Made in Italy” machinery are Germany, USA, China, France and Poland.

In year 2017 different economic analysts expect the small but stable grow with the consumption inside Italy, production rise and the export value. Let us wait and see!

The era for industrial robots

2017.06.16

Everybody knows that the robotic automation came first of all from automotive. It is reasonable – lots of welding operations, mass product, necessity of high speeds and repeatability, so everything to start the great robot integration. Automotive is the biggest, richest and the most lovely customer for any robots manufacturer and usually all their “key” or “gold” customers are automotive factories.

Next things are hazard, hot and danger environments. Why to use human and to pay great additional costs for hard work if it is much better to replace the job with the robot? For this reason robots came to all the hard environment technologies: forging equipment, foundries and steel mills automation, work with big concentration of gases, dusts etc. This is the great replacement which makes the cut of human work in hazard operations on the factory and realizes non-stop 24 hours production.

After that robots came to all operations which require repeatability, mass production and clear cycle – the general industrial automation. But anyway even if the modern robotic arm could be programmed to give you the glass of beer, write or play piano we can’t forget the main purposes of robots: welding and loading-unloading operations. There are much more industrial solutions, for example even milling with robot but the first two are the most used and the general one.

But there is too much information about robots so we do not want to talk about general things. The one phrase of this note is – “today is the new era of industrial robots”. Why? Robots made a great jump to come from the special welding lines and transfer systems for automotive with budgets for dozens of millions Euro to the position that even small workshop can came to the robot use. Do you know what the start of the price is when you can think about purchasing of robot? If you will go to used machine tools market you can see the offers with the start price of ten thousand Euros for working and not the ancient robot arm. Yes, it is not the final investments – you need a lot of things in addition: to realize the application, to buy or to manufacture the clamps or holders for your operation, to make programming, probably to buy the other software package, to buy safety devices etc. etc. But you can’t think that the robots automation is something incredible expensive and for this reason – untouchable for small manufacturers. For sure prices for new robots much higher, the complete system from the manufacturer or robots integrator could be valued with the several hundred thousand Euros, but…

Production of robots for the market is really massive, modernization of big factories makes possibilities for replacements of hundred robots for the big lines and the availability of them on the used machines market, manufacturers try to reduce prices to be competitive etc. Robotic arm last years is not something futuristic from the future but the standard industrial tool like any other CNC machine. Great possibilities and functions together with the risen human salaries make robots the great investment; moreover for robot instead of the machine tool you can change the function and application. And moreover the price possibilities on the used market can help to the small companies also to touch the advantages of the great automation generation.

photo credit: jurvetson FANUC Robot Assembly Demo via photopin (license)

Punching tool systems – Multitool

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Everybody who looks for the first CNC punching machine to proceed with sheet metal has the question has the question what punching tool system he should use.

We will not speak about all the details because this is the role of the punching machine manufacturer. Anyway it is important to know some simple things – the main point for tool system of the punching machine is the specification of your production. Let’s explain. The simplest punching machine with CNC has one and only one station where you can put Multitool head. This is the most economy solution but with serious limits for production – for example you will have 8 tools with 24 mm max. diameter of tooling. One tool for sure will go for cutting operation (moreover this tool will be much smaller with length compare with bigger machines i.e. – more hits for cutting) so you will have 7 tools so 7 possibilities for different holes for the production part. This article will not about the limitation with speeds and production possibilities so we will ignore some moments. But for Multitool it is important to know that you will do standard parts but not the forming operation like punching of louvers. There are different Multitool heads on the market but there is everywhere the limits for tooling – more max. diameter for the tool – less tools quantity in Multitool head.

Multitool in general is installed in the D-Station head (max. diameter 88,9 mm) so it means the punch machine we spoke about has one D-Station tool possibility. For sure for standard and modern Multitool heads all the tools inside are indexed – it means they could be rotated.

The next generation and more expensive solution is the turret for example with 6 D-station which means, that you can use, let’s say, 3 Multitools inside + 3 tools for D-station. This solution has much more possibilities – you have much more tools in Multitool heads for small diameters, you can do normal cutting with big length tool (for example 80×5) and you can think what to install to other D-Stations.

Today Multitool heads are presented from several manufacturers, but you need to be warned that one Multitool head can cost more than 5-6 thousand of EUR. Anyway Multitool offers great flexibility with indexed tools, there are different solutions on the market and it is very easy to find your Multitool punching tools supplier.

Original and non-original tools

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All the producers of machine tools, in particular tube bending machines, punching machines or press brakes offer the possibility to purchase original tooling together with the purchased machine. The advantages are quite simple – under original tooling the manufacturer tries to convince about the high quality of tooling and absence of any faults or problems for the customer. Moreover it is better to get the machine with tooling from one hand, so like the “key turn purchase” where you can start the production immediately after receipt of the machine.

So if everything so good why customer should study the “non-original” tooling not marked with the manufacturer of the machine? The answer is also simple – 90% of manufacturers do not have the real production of the tooling, sometimes they do the project and drawings development but the manufacture takes place outside. Moreover it is the question of the investments – “original tools” are totally more expensive against other competitive offers for these types.

Yes – every manufacturer is not the reseller – finally they are responsible for the machine and tooling is the important part of it. Moreover sometimes, like for tube bending tools it is not just the way for simple installation of tooling on the machine but the question of fine adjustments.

Sure thing if the customer requires from the manufacturer of the machine the guarantee to make his parts with required precision and quality the manufacturer can’t guarantee nothing without supply of tooling from his hands. So it is good for everybody to buy tools and the machine together. But in a lot of cases it is not so important and moreover not so complicated for the customer if he buys his second or third machine. In this case we can also help and offer – high quality press brake tooling, punching tools, tube bending tools from Italy to produce the quality parts.